How to get your digital affairs in order


You need to plan ahead in order to preserve your digital assets. You should make a list of your online accounts including email, social media, cloud storage, financial accounts, rewards programs and auto-billed subscriptions; leave instructions of your wishes regarding these accounts. If you use Google, set up the Inactive Account Manager. If you have a Facebook account; you should leave instructions on whether you would like your account permanently delete or appoint a legacy contact to maintain your memorialized account after your death. Protect your passwords – take an inventory or log-in credentials for your accounts. You can also appoint a “digital” executor and formulate a “digital estate plan” which can be incorporated into your will. For the complete article, follow our link to the Boston Globe.

Cofounder Danielle D. Duplin (left) of Agency, an incubator in Kendall Square, met with entrepreneur Mary Cronin.

By Emily Sweeney | Boston Globe.

Think about how much of your life exists online.

Your e-mail accounts contain correspondence with friends, family, and colleagues, as well as important photos, videos, and PDF attachments. You probably have family photos, home movies, and other treasured memories saved to the cloud.

In addition to stuff of sentimental value, you may own other digital assets, too — things like e-books, music, movies, or website domains.

What will happen to all of that when you die? It’s a question experts say everyone should ponder. Because let’s face it: In this modern age of paperless living, unless you plan ahead before you depart for the Big Cloud in the Sky, your loved ones won’t have much of a paper trail to work with. That’s why it’s important to get your digital affairs in order before it’s too late.

According to Yahoo’s terms of service, e-mail accounts are nontransferable and any rights to them terminate upon the account holder’s death. When a loved one dies, the family can request that the deceased user’s Yahoo account be closed and deleted. But Yahoo will not hand over any passwords or grant anyone access to the account.

Apple’s iCloud service and Twitter follow a similar policy. The same thing goes for your iTunes library. You don’t own those songs; you only have a license to listen to them, said Karin Prangley, a wealth planner with Brown Brothers Harriman in Chicago. When you die, she said, “the license passes away with you.”

So . . . what should you do?

If you want to preserve any of your digital assets after you’re gone, you need to plan ahead.

“Think about the breadth of what’s in your digital life,” Prangley said. “Think of what should be saved, and what shouldn’t be saved.”

Download the content from your social media accounts, back-up your e-mail, and make copies of important photos, documents, and other personal records and save them in multiple locations (cloud storage, thumb drives, and external hard drives).

Just remember, portable storage devices won’t last forever, and you should replace them every few years to avoid data loss.

Financial experts at Merrill Edge also recommend printing out hard copies of your paperless statements at the end of each year. Read More

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